Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Physical Therapy (M.S.)


Physical Therapy


Physical therapy is one of the many professions that must respond to the increase of health care utilization by the rapidly growing elderly population. The purposes of this cross-sectional study were to compare first and final year physical therapy students’ knowledge, misconceptions, and attitudes toward the elderly and to determine if knowledge correlates with attitudes. Students in their first year (N=168) and final year (N=149) of accredited Master’s level physical therapy programs were surveyed. Questionnaires consisted of: a short demographic sheet, Palmore’s Facts on Aging Quiz 1 with a “don’t know” response added, and a modified Aging Semantic Differential by Rosencranz and McNevin. Results indicated that: 1) final year students have more knowledge, fewer misconceptions, and more positive attitudes than first year students and 2) knowledge was found to be correlated to attitude. Physical therapy programs must continue to improve students’ knowledge and attitudes toward the elderly if quality care is to be provided to this growing population.


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